Swannanoa Community Visioning – Results and Next Steps

Swannanoa residents and business owners came together at two community meetings (one in November 2009 and the other in January 2010) to talk about their concerns and hopes for Swannanoa’s future.  Approximately 100 people attended the first meeting, and approximately 50 attended the second.  The meetings, which were facilitated by faculty and students from the NC State University College of Design, gave community members an opportunity to talk about what they valued in our community, and what they would like to see changed or improved.  The ideas generated at the meetings ranged from “don’t change anything – leave everything just as it is” to “create a mixed-use village on the old Beacon mill site, with businesses, shopping, parks, and housing.”  Following are some of the additional ideas that came out of the meetings: 

  • Try to get a new urgent care medical facility in Swannanoa;
  • Establish a trash/recycling center in this area so people have better options for disposing of their trash;
  • Put in sidewalks in Swannanoa’s business district and crosswalks at the traffic lights; lower the speed limit;
  • Develop greenways and parks along the Swannanoa river;
  • Revitalize and restore Swannanoa’s historic downtown area;
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety on Old US 70 between Grovemont Avenue and the bridge at Whitson Avenue;
  • Create a community center with programs for youth;
  • Build a bigger Swannanoa library;
  • Develop a dog park and/or community garden;
  • Improve bus service and add bus shelter(s) on US 70 in Swannanoa;
  • Come up with a slogan for Swannanoa (e.g., Valley of the Beautiful River) and put up new “Welcome to Swannanoa” signs that include the slogan; 
  • Do some landscaping and streetscaping along US 70 to improve the appearance of our business district and attract more businesses and shoppers.

Some of these ideas are already being addressed by local organizations, such as the Swannanoa Business Association, the Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition, the Swannanoa Greenways Committee, and the Friends of the Swannanoa Library.   Committees will soon be formed to explore possibilities for additional community projects.  If you’re interested in helping in any way, please call 686-8281, and we’ll point you in the right direction.   The community works when we work together! The Swannanoa Community Visioning process was generously supported by a number of individuals and organizations, including the following:  the Swannanoa Fire Department, Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition, Swannanoa Business Association, Buckeye Cove Community Club, Swannanoa 4H Center, Okie Dokies Smokehouse, Chow Time Pizza, Land of Sky Regional Council, NC State University College of Design, Buncombe County Cooperative Extension, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Catholic Charities, and the Center for Participatory Change.  

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